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    DVD Video - Reviews [Death Wish]


    Death Wish

    Release Date:

    Studio: Paramount
    Year: 1974
    Run Time: 93 minutes
    Rating: R
    Starring: Hope Lange, William Redfield, Vincent Gardenia, Charles Bronson, Jeff Goldblum
    Directed by: Michael Winner
      Movie Summary: [Action/Adventure]

        Paul Kersey is an architect living in New York City. One day while he was gone, hoodlums break into his apartment, killing his wife Joanna and gang raping his daughter, leaving her comatose. When the police cannot bring the criminals to justice, Kersey arms himself and begins a vigilante war on the streets, killing any muggers or thieves he encounters.

    DVD Details
    • Widescreen: 1.85:1, Enhanced for 16X9 TVs, Color, Mono, Additional Languages: French, Subtitles: English, Closed Captioned, Region 1
    • Subtitled for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Trailer
    See Full Disc Details...

    Reviewer: Marc Flemming [Staff]


            M ichael Douglas once played a character fed up with the way society evolved in the frustratingly solemn and grim world surrounding him and consequently crossed the fine line that marks oneís flavor of sanity then taking the law into his own hands. The film was called Falling Down and it was an interesting look at the outcome of such a decision that many of us psychologically flirt with when the troubled time comes calling. A couple decades before the arrival of Falling Down, Charles Bronson launched a Hollywood franchise portraying a man who felt much the same way, turning to the gun as a solution for his problems in a film with a Death Wish.

    Paul Kersey [Charles Bronson, Magnificent Seven, Great Escape, Dirty Dozen] is your typical wealthy white-collar worker living amongst the many shadows of New York. In an unfortunate turn of events, his wife and daughter are attacked quite randomly by a trio of ruthlessly wacky thugs seemingly one heroin dose away from cardiac arrest. Kersey, a stern liberal at heart, vows to take a life-long stance against violence from an early age after his father is killed in a hunting accident. This all changes on the heels of his wifeís death when Kerseyís weakened sense of judgement is infused with an altering perception of formulating solutions to societyís problems with crime when he discovers the convenience of committing random homicide. One after the other, Kersey drops criminals throughout the city streets with his trusty revolver given to him as a gift. One thing becomes quickly apparent, itís not difficult to go out and get mugged in New York. Death Wish was largely controversial in its time with its gritty look at urban violence in America. Its content still serves a meaty impact at times. At one point, I found myself sincerely cringing throughout a scene of tragically blunt rape and murder.

    Death Wish serves up a healthy dose of 70ís style filming with its unsubtle use of stage lighting, dynamically-lacking audio, and dated personality quirks and surrounding footage. Unlike many similar films of the era, Death Wish captivates the viewer by allowing us the courtesy to witness Kerseyís slow progression into the dark side. We can actually have no doubt that what he does is with good reason and excusable justification. The filmmakers could have handled this like most others leaving the audience believing the filmís main character simply flipped his lid.

    The film arrives in its widescreen anamorphic form (enhanced for widescreen televisions) looking as good as itís likely to get. A few decades can take its toll on film and this one doesnít look to be any more special than the majority of others from its era. The Dolby Digital mono track will likely not have you dancing for joy on the living room coffee table. Itís surely true to the original source material - perfectly complimenting the quality of film that makes up this piece. It ainít great - but it gets the job done.

    The DVD offers nothing in the way of extras short of a theatrical trailer. And I must say that this particular theatrical trailer is one of the worst Iíve seen. It goes way above and beyond the call of duty by introducing every key scene in the film including the very LAST one. If there were ever a theatrical trailer that allowed one to skip an entire film having the trailer cover it all from beginning to end - this is it. If youíve yet to see this film, skip the trailer like the plague.

    Death Wish obviously made some sort of impression on the masses - it spawned four sequels with the fifth Death Wish arriving twenty years after the first. While perusing the back alleyways of New York city with Charles Bronson, watch out for the quirky debut of a fairly young Jeff Goldblum in a role he might have well tried to forget by now. That aside - the film delivers its message in force leaving a flavorfully sour taste in my mouth ... and by all means, Iím sure it was intended.


    No screenshots at this time.

    Individual Ratings
    Video Audio Content Movie
    7 7 2 8.5
    Ratings Based on Scale of 1 - 10 (10 being Best)

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